In December 1962, Cahiers du cinéma produced a dictionary of “162 New French Filmmakers” in which Jean-Daniel Pollet was compared to Vigo: “He possesses that gift which only the greatest are endowed with, quite simply to transfigure everything that falls under the eye of his camera.” Pollet’s debut short, Pourvu qu’on ait l’ivresse (57), was a study of loneliness set in the dance halls of suburban Paris starring Claude Melki, a young unknown non-actor whom Pollet discovered and who would become the director’s acteur fétiche. The film won prizes and attracted plaudits. Jean-Pierre Melville told the 21-year-old filmmaker, “Perhaps you’ll make something as good as this again, but never anything better.” (“Very encouraging,” Pollet remarked.) Pollet built on the images and themes from this first film in many of his later works, by incorporating elements of popular comedies imbued with both burlesque and melancholic elements.

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